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Terminate VFA, Bayan urges Duterte

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Terminate VFA, Bayan urges Duterte
“Bayan believes that the VFA must not be renewed, extended or upheld by the Philippine government. The VFA termination must not also be used as leverage to get more US military aid that will be used for counter-insurgency and human rights violations,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement yesterday.
Renato Reyes Jr. / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has urged President Duterte not to renew the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the United States, which is set to expire in August.

“Bayan believes that the VFA must not be renewed, extended or upheld by the Philippine government. The VFA termination must not also be used as leverage to get more US military aid that will be used for counter-insurgency and human rights violations,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said in a statement yesterday.

Duterte ordered the termination of the government’s VFA with the US in February last year, but had a change of heart in June. He suspended the VFA termination for six months, citing the “political and other developments in the region.”

Reyes said the President must stick to his decision to terminate the agreement and prove his claim of an independent foreign policy.

“The VFA belongs to the dustbin of history. It violates national sovereignty and gives special treatment to American soldiers violating Philippine laws. It uses the Philippines as a foot stool for power projection in Asia and has not led to AFP modernization. It is an instrument of US imperialist foreign policy in the region,” he said.

Reyes said there is still a chance of renegotiation of the VFA as Duterte is “desperate to stay in power beyond 2022.”

“The Duterte regime, meanwhile, is more interested in getting US military hardware more than anything. It has threatened the renegotiation of the VFA to force the Americans to give more military aid to the Philippines. Duterte is desperate to stay in power beyond 2022 and seeks to suppress all forms of opposition to his tyrannical plans. This is where US military aid will be used,” Reyes said.

Reyes said in this case, the US government must be the one to take the initiative to terminate the agreement.

“The Biden administration will be doing a great disservice to American taxpayers if it will allow US tax dollars to fund the Duterte fascist machinery. Americans must be the first to object to the use of their taxes to commit human rights violations overseas,” Reyes said.

BAYAN

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